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Kim Salazar: Defining Journey Management

We kicked-off our three-part webinar series on standardizing Journey Management with an interview with all-star Kim Salazar, Journey Management trainer and expert from the Nielsen Norman Group. Soak up Kim’s pearls of wisdom about why organizing your business around journeys is paramount and how you can start doing it today.

Aurora Stobbelaar

September 8, 2022

#Webinars

From Kim Salazar’s point of view, people understand the user-centered design aspect of the journey level experience, but feel handcuffed because they don’t have the influence to be able to make the changes that they know need to be made. There’s no proper structure, channels, or buy-in to do any of the stuff that they are covering with research. Sound familiar? 

Kim has dedicated herself to researching and trying to solve this problem, and shares her insights into using Journey Management to transform the way an organization works.

CX vs UX (and the link with Journey Management) 

Kim started us off by defining Journey Management as the ongoing practice of continually researching, measuring, optimizing, and orchestrating the journey level experience to improve the customer experience, while also achieving business results. 

She acknowledged that while the background of Journey Management has traditionally come from more of the CX world, the evolution of UX means that the two are now starting to blend together and meet in the middle. UXers can learn what CX is good at – the long-cross functional way of managing journeys. This will give them a view into all of the touch points and be able to collaborate with them from a user-centered design point of view.

This is her approach – talking to UX professionals about how they can learn from CX, build onto a CX team or borrow some of the practices, to not just focus on marketing but experience improvement in general.

Why Journey Management is the way forward

Whereas 100 years ago, the way people consumed products and services was very targeted – one product or service experience at a time – now, it’s a much more immersive experience. This makes the journey and that connection between all the little experiences so much more important. Kim explained how defining things in that larger journey scope can show us how one little problem in our backend where data is not being shared is affecting the experience somewhere else.

She also spoke to returns on business – “If you invest in that journey level experience, it’s going to pay dividends, it’s going to bring business value”, sharing how reports from Forrester show correlation between high customer satisfaction, investment in journey level design, and business outcomes like revenue. And this is exactly how you can convince leadership that Journey Management is important.

Journey Management is a mindset

Kim noted that while a lot of leaders understand and value Journey Management, the difficulty lies in figuring out how to get there. Organizations are missing guidance on how to operate in a journey-level way and it becomes easier to just default back to the way things are always done.

According to Kim, it’s all about mindset. “You have to adopt a new mindset about the way you’re going to prioritize things and be held accountable to acting on that mindset. And the best way to create that adoption and accountability is to formalize it.” Kim suggested two strategies for doing this within your organization and shared a case study from Hewlett Packard that you’ll definitely want to check out.

  1. Create a playbook with the vision
  2. Have executives sign this as a strategy moving forward

Where should I start?

Kim’s advice for getting started with Journey Management is this: start simple. Prioritize one journey, the one with the highest value that will really capture attention from leaders and executives. Create informal working groups to really explore what it would mean to implement Journey Management and ask yourself these questions: 

  • How is your organization structured?
  • Do you already have a CX team and where are they aligned in the organization (to whom do they report?)
  • Where are UX/design resources situated? (Keep in mind that centralized design is good to build upon, decentralized is more difficult to grow)

If you’re a team that’s ready to hire resources and facilitate change, then it could be broader. Identify the top 6-8 journeys to start with a plan to scale over time. Bottom line: have resources aligned as high up in your organizational structure as possible so these people have a line of sight of everything that’s happening functionally within teams and overarching influence.



Watch the full replay for more of Kim’s Journey Management insights.